Fabulous Feline Design

Customize your home with these cat-friendly design tips.

By Stacy Mantle

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Courtesy of Jeanette Phillips
Jeanette and Murray Phillips of Australia built a customized room for their cats.
Customized jungle gyms and charming pet chaises are the new vogue, but the housing industry is experiencing the most change, with cat lovers adding on rooms or building custom homes in the name of feline design.

Thousands of homes are being cat-customized across the country, and it’s not just an American phenomenon. Jeanette Phillip and her husband have created a cat sanctuary in Australia complete with a massive waterfall that hides an intricate network of tunnels and flows into a fishpond.

Pet-friendly designs available upon request include built-in scratching posts, wall-mounted seating and easy-to-clean flooring options. You can preserve the resale value of your home while creating an elegant space for you and your cats. Here are a few feline design tips:

Architecture
When building a custom home, include overhead catwalks with plenty of space for cats to pass one another. Connecting the rooms by way of an open floor plan or the using exposed beams is popular. Built-in window seats offer a little luxury to both you and your cats. Remember: Never design a hiding place for your cats that you cannot access easily in case of an emergency.

Flooring
Many cat-friendly flooring choices are available. Tile and stained concrete make some of the most efficient and elegant options. Heated sub-floors also are becoming popular among cat owners.

Christine Davis of Portland, Ore. set up an outdoor cat enclosure.

Outdoors
The development of virtually invisible fencing makes it possible to fence off a small area or an entire yard. When enclosing an outdoor area, remember that cats can easily escape if ground cover is not provided. If you choose to build an enclosure for your cats, make sure the enclosure is staked off, and provide a ground fence before adding plants and trees. Flagstone provides an elegant touch, particularly when you allow edible grasses to grow wild in the gaps.

Interior Design
Decorating your home is a personal endeavor. Choose to show off your feline friends with the many stylish new furniture fashions available, and integrate color according to your design tastes. Remember to use a semi-gloss paint for easy cleanup. Designing for cats is similar to designing for children — keep it safe and creative, and remember that they can (and will) get into everything.

Automated Homes
Automated everything is the key to pet-friendly residences. Trends include automated litterboxes, purifying pet water fountains and automatic feeders. You can even add a kitty webcam to see what your cat is doing while you’re away.

Whether you reside in an apartment or a luxury home, there are no limits when it comes to feline design. You can easily customize your home to tickle any feline’s fancy!

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Reader Comments

Tommy    Philadelphia, PA

2/27/2008 8:16:24 AM

It is such a gift to your feline companion to consider him when designing your home environment. I would incorporate scratching posts, boards, and pads (from the horizontal to the vertical) everywhere your cat will be joining you as you move about the home. My best experience has been with "3/8 Brazilian sisal rope" and you can find many "flat sisal rope scratchers" and completely "wrappedposts" (one word) with hardware to incorporate into your "feline design" . I would suggest that you Google any of the terms I've put inside quotations. You'll find a treasure trove of resources to help you "bring your cat's dreams into reality" . Also, I have published several articles online to help you. Try searching for "flerper" and "Tommy Catman"

Dani    Brazil, AL

2/12/2008 10:03:17 AM

Amazing! But why only these small pics?
You guys could put on bigger pics for inspiration!

Sarah    Fayettville, PA

2/11/2008 6:06:23 AM

those are so neat! i bet my cats would love them! too bad they do not state a price range

Dorothy    Dunlap, TN

2/8/2008 9:11:04 AM

great ideas would be nice to be able to see a closer view

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